1. Compare prices and use online price comparison apps. 
  2. Save a copy of your receipt and proof of purchase. When submitting a rebate, you may have to send the originals to the manufacturer to receive the rebate. 
  3. Check the warranties for all major purchases. 
  4. Before you make your purchase, ask about the refund policies of the store and if they offer receipts for gift recipients.  
  5. Check your receipt carefully before leaving the store, and check your bank and/or credit card statements promptly to catch any error. 
  6. If buying online from an unknown retailer, ask your credit card company to give you a one-time-use card number, also called Virtual Credit Card Number, so that you can protect your credit card information from possible scammers. 
  7. Before using an online retailer, find out where they are located, and how satisfied consumers are with the company. Make sure that their website is legitimate and secure before entering your personal and financial information. 
  8. Use a shopping list to help make sure you purchase what you need to avoid overspending. 
  9. Only give out personal information over the phone to companies that you have called directly. 
  10. When shopping, do not leave packages in plain view in your car. Try not to park your car in areas that are poorly lit and isolated. 
  11. If you are shipping gifts, check the shipping deadlines with the Post Office or other shipping companies, and compare shipping costs with different shippers. 
  12. If you are expecting shipped goods, make arrangements to avoid leaving unattended packages  in front of your house 

If you have any questions, call the Consumer Mediation Services at (408) 792-2880.

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